I did not participate last year. It is the week of my son’s birthday, and I was also pregnant/sick/exhausted. The idea of mastering flats & hand-washing diapers for a week made me feel nauseated (more so than usual, hee-hee.) When Kim announced that she’d be hosting the challenge again this year, I immediately thought I’d support it, but wouldn’t participate. No way, no how! After all, it is again my son’s birthday week, and I have two super-soaker boys in diapers now! My little guy is 4.5 months old right now and still wants to be held/worn all the time. I am honestly struggling with meeting his needs, while also meeting my older son’s needs (mostly constant feeding, LOL!) and getting my daughter to and from school and activities, getting her homework done etc. I am completely overwhelmed with keeping up with junk cleanup, dishes, cleaning and the constant laundry. Washing diapers for 2 is a lot, even with a washing machine. The other day my husband remarked that the laundry room looked empty without diapers hanging, LOL.
I also don’t have enough flats to use, and I assume I’d need to use my tub to wash, which would be an extra hassle to deal with the kids and running up & down the stairs. I don’t know if I even have enough places to hang up that many flats! Excuse after excuse, I know! It sounds crazy, but the idea of using & hand washing flats for a week ramped my anxiety up 10 notches and made me feel physically ill.
Then I started thinking about what it would be like if this was my reality and it made me want to try! I took a deep breath, hit the submit button on the sign up form, and ordered some flour sack towels to use as flats. Eek!
Since then, I found out that we are allowed to use a diaper sprayer this year (it wasn’t allowed last year) and we’re not limited to the # of covers we use (the limit was 5 last year.) I only have a couple of wipeable covers, since I sent what I wasn’t regularly using to my friend. I was concerned about keeping covers clean, and I was also concerned about my older son freaking out that he couldn’t have the diaper he wanted!
I’m going to try to limit the # I use, especially since I don’t need more to hand wash! I have a utility sink in my laundry room that also has a sink sprayer. So I figure I will just be washing flats constantly, all day every day that week. However many I can fit in the sink at a time.
You’re also allowed a night time diaper of your choice, but you’re encouraged to make flats work for you. So, I ordered two hemp babies flats to use inside a pocket diaper at night. Hopefully that will be enough absorbency!
I’ll be writing more about my thought process as I imagined doing this out of necessity, and I’ll also be posting about the hemp babies flats and flour sack towels I bought, as well as comparing them to the Diaper Rite flats I’ve already posted about.
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Although I enjoy pocket diapers and other modern diapers, I love knowing that I can cloth diaper really affordably, and even with things I have around the house. We have well water so a power outage means no well pump, no water and not even hand washing is possible. Things like receiving blankets and kitchen towels can be used as diapers in a pinch, and when you’re doing it by choice (rather than out of necessity) there can be something a little fun and relaxing about folding flats!
I picked up a dozen Diaper Rite unbleached Birdseye cotton flats in the large size (about 32″ x 32″ pre-washing) for $22. They are also available in a small size (27″ x 27″ pre-washing) which would be fine for pad folding or for smaller babies, priced at $17.50/dozen. Both sizes are also available in white.
Naturally, cotton shrinks quite a bit in the wash.
Even after shrinking, the large was large enough to snappi on my 2 yr 10 month old son, who is around 29ish pounds.
When you look at these next pictures, you will probably say “but Maria, you didn’t…and it isn’t…and it wasn’t…” You’re probably right. I didn’t and it isn’t and it wasn’t. But that’s the beauty of flats. You can fold them any way you want, totally customizing where you put the most layers, and they are very forgiving. I know some people have amazing flat folding demos where all the folds are crisp and the corners are sharp. Mine were done with an audience and were done very quickly, as they are in “real life!”
This is my sloppy version of the Diaper Bag Fold:
Fold the bottom up (this is a great time to adjust the “rise” of the completed diaper, and put the absorbency where you want it. Then you’ll trifold and fan the back out, then fold the “waist” down.
Then fold the front up and wrap around baby!
When I was doing this one, my husband said “what’s this wacky diaper origami?” I said “yeah, it’s pretty much diaper origami!”
Again, flats are very forgiving! Nothing terrible will happen if it’s not exactly square or even. Fold in half, then in half again, so the flat is folded into quarters.
Grab the bottom corner and pull it up to the top to form a triangle.
Then flip the whole thing over
And fold the rectangular portion to the middle.
Tuck the legs in and pull up over baby.
Wrap the wings around baby and cover. You can secure with pins or a snappi first!
Flats are just a single layer of fabric, but you can get 8-12 layers in the wet zone depending on how you fold. You can pad fold (basically just quartering and trifolding) another flat to use under for extra absorbency, fold two up together, or combine with an insert or whatever you like!
The large size fits just fine even on my not-quite-4-month-old.
Have you used flats? I know many of you participated in the flats challenge last year. What was your favorite fold? What brand did you like best?
FTC compliance: Although I paid normal retail prices for the pictured items, this post contains affiliate links. I was not compensated for this post, and all opinions are my own.